Blog
Stories of Sound
and Sleep:

Rewrap the Gift

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Our holiday traditions around giving and receiving are due for a redux. Here are our tips.

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Sing to Me: The Power of the Human Voice

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

It’s time to warm up those vocal cords. How singing and being sung to have kept us surviving.

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Object Story: The Safety Razor

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Why a 120-year-old razor is still the one you want to use.

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OneClock Reads: Super Normal

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

In Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary designers Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fakasawa draw our attention to the phenomenon of everyday objects.

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Meet the Team: Jamie Kripke's Studio of Life

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Artist, cyclist, skier, and OneClock co-founder, Jamie Kripke brings the same curiosity and creative energy to everything he does.

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Meet the Team: Howie Rubin's Architecture of Experience

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Experiential marketing aficionado Howie Rubin on music, design, clocks, and living life to its fullest by slowing down.

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OneClock / Wake Up Better

  • Jamie

No good clocks were harmed in the making of this film.

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Something About Nothing

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Three books for resisting the attention economy and restoring a mindful life.

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In Your Dreams

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Humans spend several years dreaming, yet this phenomenon remains mysterious in both purpose and meaning.

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Object Lessons

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

What the world of touch teaches and tells us.

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Get Up!

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Tune your body and mind with some Valentine’s Day morning sex. Or, why we recommend getting down while waking up.

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Introducing...Captain Planet!

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

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OneClock Anthem Video

  • Jamie

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How Do You Sleep at Night?

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Your chronotype determines when and how well you sleep, and much about how you feel while awake—but few people know what theirs is, or how to live in harmony with it.

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Jon Natchez on Writing Music for OneClock

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Composer and musician Jon Natchez shares insights and inspirations for OneClock’s initial seven waking tracks.

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A New Way for the New Year

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

It’s that time again! The New Year invites us to set intentions for self-improvement and change. Here’s how you can best prepare for a successful refresh.

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A Guaranteed Audience of One

  • Jamie

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Buy Nothing, Sleep In / Thoughts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

As the Black Friday alarm rings at its early hour, we invite you to make a new ritual of sleeping in. And then, once you wake up? Go sit and have coffee with your mom, dad, kids, neighbor, or dog. Watch the sun travel across the kitchen window. Appreciate. Connect. Make it a thing.

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OneClock // 1 minute waking music samples

  • Jamie

Listen to 60 second samples of the 7 waking compositions that Jon Natchez created for OneClock.

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It’s About Time: The Magic of a Meaningful Morning

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

The quiet of morning is beloved by the creative mind. Find out how you can wake up gently, establish a daily ritual, and reclaim the magic of morning with the help of OneClock.

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Fitter, Happier, More Productive?

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

The near constant use of technology in contemporary life can be overwhelming, affecting our health and relationships. Use a less-is-more approach to find physical, mental, and emotional balance in a world dominated by devices.

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1000 True Fans

  • Jamie

Assorted feedback from the first few OneClock owners.

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Jon Natchez Launch Concert

  • Jamie

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez created some music to celebrate our 2/2 launch.

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Video: Behind the Music

  • Jamie

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Product before price

  • Jamie

We set out to make exactly what we wanted, not what the market wanted. The price is what it is because that’s where the price ended up once we'd designed the clock we wanted.

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The Snooze Button is your Frenemy

  • Jamie

If you find the idea of quitting the Snooze button intimidating, look at it this way: Snoozing does not equal sleeping. Snoozing is a sad, stressful imitation of real sleep.

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Scaring Yourself Awake

  • Jamie

From the adrenal gland’s point of view, there’s no difference between the shock of that blaring alarm and the sight of an incoming tsunami. And why would you want to start your day like that?

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A Brief History of Alarm Clocks

  • Jamie

It seems clear that the need for alarm clocks will never go away. But if the 1787 version of the U.S. Constitution can be amended 27 times, can’t we evolve our alarm clocks, too?

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Threat Vigilance, your Smartphone, and why you can’t sleep

  • Jamie

Many of us use our phones as our alarm clocks. It’s simple and easy and it works. But when you bring your smartphone to bed with you, you’re also bringing that fiendish little source of stress into your bedroom, too.

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OneClock Reads: Super Normal

Feeling Into Super Normal

In Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary designers Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa draw our attention to the phenomenon of everyday objects.

“When I’m true to my feelings, I really ‘get’ Super Normal,” writes Fukasawa in his essay for Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary, the book that culminates three exhibitions by the same name that he and Morrison presented in 2006 and 2007.

Maybe Fukasawa admits to only sometimes “getting” Super Normal—a term coined for the unexpected appeal of particular everyday objects—because, as a concept, it’s hard to get.

Tap into your intuition and you’ll know right away if an object is Super Normal. Think about it too hard and certainty quickly slips away. 

What Is Super Normal?

Is an object’s beauty in its enduring ubiquity? In its uncanny ability to bring pleasure despite being otherwise unremarkable? Is its presence undeniable? Its absence unimaginable? Yes? It’s probably Super Normal.

The idea of Super Normal was born in a conversation between Morrison and Takashi Okutani (then with Muji) about Fukasawa’s work at the 2005 Salone del Mobile, the international furniture fair that takes place annually in Milan. Morrison used the word “normal” to describe the appeal of the aluminum stools Fukasawa had designed that year for Magis. To Morrison’s description, Okutani added “super.”

“Normal" may not be a word designers might like to hear used about their work, but Morrison meant it as high praise. In Fukasawa’s stools, Morrison saw a corrective to the newer, better, flashier churn of early-aughts design.

In the book, he explains: “There are better ways to design than putting a big effort into making something look special. Special is generally less useful than normal, and less rewarding in the long term. Special things demand attention for the wrong reasons, interrupting a potentially good atmosphere with their awkward presence.”

Morrison offers the example of a beloved pair of hand-blown wine glasses he’d picked up at a junk shop. Through time and use, the glasses became integral to his everyday experience, made special not because of their design but because of their ease of being there. The glassware’s identity wasn’t wrapped up in how they looked, or who had made them look that way, but in how good it felt to use them over and over again. He couldn’t imagine his table without them. Special was grown, not applied, not purchased.

“This quota of atmospheric spirit is the most mysterious and elusive quality in objects,” he writes. “How can it be that so many designs fail to have any real beneficial effect on the atmosphere, and yet these glasses, made without much design thought or any attempt to achieve anything other than a good ordinary wine glass, happen to be successful?”

This atmospheric shift accounts for the “super.” The normalcy of the run-of-the-mill glasses was transcended by their ability to evoke emotion. Fukasawa’s stools were similar. For Morrison, they also embodied this mysterious excellence, and he wanted to talk more about it. He introduced Fukasawa to the idea spurred by his work, and shortly after, the two had a Super Normal exhibition on their hands.

Super Normal Things

One exhibition turned into three. From Tokyo’s Axis Gallery, Super Normal traveled to TwentyTwentyOne in London, and the 2007 Triennale in Milan. The exhibitions included 210 collected objects determined by Morrison and Fukasawa to fit the amorphous Super Normal mold.

Buckets, bicycle handlebars, vegetable peelers, paperclips, and a lone goose egg by unnamed and unknown designers sat beside objects by design greats, like Arne Jacobsen’s sugar bowl, Marc Newsom’s salt caster and “Zenit” spice holder, Dieter Rams’s Universal 606 Shelving System for Vitsoe, and Isamu Noguchi’s Akari ceiling lamp.

Super Normal is not a denouncement of design (with these players involved, how could it be?). “Objects become Super Normal through use rather than design,” says Morrison, “although their design is key.” Morrison and Fukasawa also aren’t saying that form must follow function. In their notes on item 6. Square brush washer, they write, “If a shape that follows function is too functional, its relationship to people may turn cold.” The included items are touted for “maintaining a gentle relationship with people.”

Several items in the book are utilitarian objects found in restaurants and other public venues. These items are touch points, pieces of material culture shared by the collective—and maybe that’s what keeps their utility from going cold. Item 47. Tumbler is a ubiquitous soba shop tumbler drunk from quickly, while standing up. In it is “a shared feeling of the most refreshing way to drink water.”

Of item 29. Soy sauce dispenser, designed by Masahiro Mori, they explain that the vessel “has such an iconic presence that it automatically comes to mind when we think of soy sauce…Going to a good sushi shop and finding a different soy sauce dispenser would perhaps make you feel like something just wasn’t right. ‘Normal’ is something that is created through the existence of an object interlaced with the overall atmosphere that surrounds it.”

Why We Like It

While they have now written a manifesto and published a book indexing several of their collected objects, Morrison and Fukasawa are careful to say that Super Normal is not a theory. In place of an in-or-out dichotomy there are individual relationships and cultural contexts, a sensorial web full of holes that are meant to be there.

The hunt for Super Normal is a way of paying attention to things beyond how they look. How does an object make you feel? Does your feeling toward this object change and deepen over time? What is the lived-out effect of its aesthetic?

“I believe it’s re-realizing something that you already knew, re-acknowledging what you naturally thought was good in something,” Fukasawa writes. “Super Normal consists of the things that we overlook when we focus too much on ‘design’—I think it points to those things in our everyday lives that we naturally hold an affinity for.”